2 THINK ABOUT ITThe first humans to settle Hawaii came from Polynesia about 1600 years ago. They cut trees to plant farms, and they introduced nonnative plants, pigs, chickens, dogs, and rats. This combination drove many native plant and animal species to extinction.Yet for centuries Hawaii’s ecosystems provided enough fresh water, fertile soil, fish, and other resources to keep the society self-sufficient.
3 Beginning in the late 1700s, new waves of settlers arrived in Hawaii Beginning in the late 1700s, new waves of settlers arrived in Hawaii. They imported plants and animals that became invasive pests. They cleared vast tracts of forest to grow sugar cane, pineapples, and other crops that required lots of water. They also converted land for housing and tourism. Waikiki Beach, for example, is surrounded by built-up areas that support tourism.Have the “new” settlers adequately managed their natural resources, resources both vital and limited?
4 The Effect of Human Activity Humans affect regional and global environments through agriculture, development, and industry in ways that have an impact on the quality of Earth’s natural resources, including soil, water, and the atmosphere.
5 Living on Island EarthLike all other organisms, humans affect the environment when weobtain foodeliminate waste productsbuild places to liveMost of us probably don’t think of land, food, and water as limited resources. But today human activity has used or altered roughly half of all the land that’s not covered with ice and snow.
6 AgricultureModern agricultural practices have enabled farmers to double world food production over the last 50 years.Monoculture, for example, is the practice of clearing large areas of land to plant a single highly productive crop year after year. Monoculture enables efficient sowing, tending, and harvesting of crops using machines.
7 AgricultureHowever, agriculture impacts natural resources, including fresh water and fertile soil.Fertilizer production and farm machinery also consume large amounts of fossil fuels.
8 DevelopmentAs modern society developed, many people chose to live in cities. Then, as urban centers became crowded, people moved to suburbs.This development has environmental effects. Dense human communities produce lots of wastes that, if not disposed of properly, can affect air, water, and soil resources.In addition, development consumes farmland and divides natural habitats into fragments. Development in Florida, for example, has lead to fragmentation of the forests there.
9 Industrial GrowthThe conveniences of modern life require a lot of energy to produce and power. Most of this energy is obtained by burning fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—and that affects the environment.In addition, industries have traditionally discarded wastes from manufacturing and energy production directly into the air, water, and soil. Smog, for example, is formed by chemical reactions among pollutants released into the air by industrial processes and automobile exhaust.
10 Sustainable Development Goods are things that can be bought and sold, that have value in terms of dollars and cents.Services are processes or actions that produce goods.Ecosystem goods and services are the goods and services produced by ecosystems that benefit the human economy.
11 Ecosystem Goods and Services Healthy ecosystems provide many goods and services naturally and largely free of charge, like breathable air and drinkable water.But, if the environment can’t provide these goods and services, society must spend money to produce them.In many places, for example, drinkable water is provided naturally by streams, rivers, and lakes, and filtered by wetlands. But in areas where water sources or wetlands are polluted or damaged, cities and towns must pay for mechanical or chemical treatment to provide safe drinking water.
12 Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources Ecosystem goods and services are classified as either renewable or nonrenewable.A renewable resource can be produced or replaced by a healthy ecosystem. Wind is a renewable resource.Some resources are nonrenewable resources because natural processes cannot replenish them within a reasonable amount of time. Fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas are nonrenewable resources formed from buried organic materials over millions of years.
13 Sustainable Resource Use Using natural resources in a way that does not cause long-term environmental harm is called sustainable development.Sustainable development should cause no long-term harm to the soil, water, and climate on which it depends. It should consume as little energy and material as possible.Sustainable development must be flexible enough to survive environmental stresses like droughts, floods, and heat waves or cold snaps.Sustainable development must also take into account human economic systems as well as ecosystem goods and services.
14 Sustainable Development Sustainable development provides for human needs while preserving the ecosystems that produce natural resources.